The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump

People are again predicting his demise. The widely admired Megyn Kelly is definitely a riskier target for him than John McCain was. But since an enormous amount of his appeal is based on saying outrageous things and not apologizing for them, it’d be foolish to think that anything that has transpired since Thursday will sink him. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the debate and its aftermath check or reverse the progress he’d been making in the internals of the polls (higher favorable ratings, fewer Republicans saying they’d never consider voting for him, etc.).

I basically only have one barometer for whether Trump has gone too far–and that’s when Ted Cruz is willing to criticize him directly. We haven’t reached that point yet. I take Andy’s point about how all the other candidates are making their own calculations how to respond to Trump, too, but the gentle treatment Cruz affords the mogul is especially noteworthy given how eager he usually is to attack other Republicans and the fact that Trump has the most flagrantly RINO record of anyone in the field. So I don’t doubt that he shamelessly changed the subject as Alexis said, because this is something he really, really doesn’t want to have to address for now. (And as a general matter, I appreciate Alexis’s robust coverage of the flap that consumed the political world this weekend).

More broadly, it’s pretty clear where the drift of this thing is heading, which is not toward Trump winning the nomination, but toward Trump somewhere along the way saying he’s been treated unfairly — by the GOP, by the media, by Jonah Goldberg, et al. — and declaring next year that he’s seriously considering an independent bid. Even if he didn’t ultimately pull the trigger, it would guarantee another couple of months of attention for Donald Trump, which is the only thing that matters for Donald Trump.

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